Haven. Sanctuary. Refuge. These words give an idea of what awaits in a Southern country inn.
The Antrim 1844 Inn is a pastoral paradise that resides amid a bucolic scene of rolling green farms at the sleepy crossroads of Taneytown. A row of merry tulips greets guests at the gates leading to the historic Greek Revival mansion.
Restored by owners Dorothy and Richard Mollett, the 19th-century plantation home sat vacant for decades. “When we walked in, our mouths dropped open,” Dorothy says. “We saw the architecture, the perfect symmetry.”
Guests still marvel when they see the grand foyer. Adorned with detailed woodwork, Persian rugs, 14-foot ceilings with chandeliers, and period antiques, the room sets an elegant tone.
In the main house, the rooms include wooden floors, fireplaces, canopy beds, and updated bathrooms. The honeymoon cottage fills the old icehouse, while one of the barn rooms boasts a secluded bedroom loft that overlooks a creek.
The arrival of tasty morsels marks the hours at Antrim. Even though the inn indulges guests with fine surroundings, the food remains the ultimate reason folks visit. Many diners drive from the cities simply for dinner.
While the setting is formal, the feeling is casual. “We don’t have dress codes,” Dorothy says. “We see everything from guys in turtlenecks to women in sequined gowns.” Dinner guests begin with hors d’ouevres by candlelight in the drawing room before entering the Smokehouse Restaurant.
Chef Michael Gettier designs prix fixe six-course masterpieces ($68.50 per person). Entrées include steak, fish, and poultry choices, such as the tuna pistachio served with grilled eggplant and a fresh herb-citrus sauce. Guests don’t select a dessert―each table receives a tray with all the evening’s treats. After dinner, sated diners visit the Pickwick Pub for nightcaps before toddling off to bed.
Leisurely mornings start with a tray of muffins and coffee delivered to the room. Later on, guests indulge in the full complimentary breakfast.
To work up an appetite, visitors stroll the grounds that include a putting green, a croquet court, and a swimming pool nestled between privacy hedges. Three seasons a year, blooms burst forth in the well-groomed gardens adorned with sculpted shrubs and large fountains.
This season, the daffodils will soon give way to heavy peonies and bright roses―a beautiful time to relax at the inn.
Antrim 1844 Inn, Taneytown, Maryland
(410) 756-6812, or 1-800-858-1844. Rates: start at $180 and include afternoon tea and breakfast.